Julia McKenzie

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Julia McKenzie
Julia McKenzie Head Shot.jpg
Born Julia Kathleen McKenzie
(1941-02-17) 17 February 1941 (age 74)
Enfield, Middlesex, England
Occupation Actress, director, presenter
Years active 1966–present
Spouse(s) Jerry Harte (m. 1971)[1]

Julia McKenzie (born 17 February 1941) is an English actress, singer and theatre director. She is best known for her performance in Fresh Fields, but to current television audiences she may be better known for her role as Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's Marple. McKenzie has also appeared on the stage in both the West End and on Broadway, including in several Stephen Sondheim musicals.

Early life[edit]

She was born Julia Kathleen McKenzie on 17 February 1941, in Enfield, Middlesex, England, the daughter of Kathleen Rowe and Albion McKenzie.[2]



In London's West End her performing credits include Guys and Dolls as Miss Adelaide (1982) and Sweeney Todd as Mrs. Lovett (1994), winning the Olivier Award for Actress of the Year in a Musical for each.[3][4]

She played the Witch in Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" at the Phoenix Theatre, London in 1990.

For her role in Woman in Mind, she received the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress. She has also appeared in Follies as Sally at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1987[5] and Into the Woods as the Witch at the Phoenix Theatre in 1990.[6] She appeared in Side By Side By Sondheim in the West End in 1976 and on Broadway in 1977,[7] and was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for her performance.

McKenzie appeared in a National Theatre 80th birthday tribute to Lord Olivier, Happy Birthday, Sir Larry on 31 May 1987 in the presence of Olivier himself.[8]


On television, McKenzie co-starred with Irene Handl in the sitcom Maggie and Her (1978–79), and with Gareth Hunt in That Beryl Marston...! (1981). She went on to greater popularity with British viewers as Hester in Fresh Fields and the sequel French Fields in the 1980s opposite Anton Rodgers, for which she was voted TV Times Favourite Female Comedy Performance for five consecutive years. She also appeared as Mrs Forthby in Blott on the Landscape and as a Midsomer villager involved in a series of murders in an episode of Midsomer Murders. Film credits include Hotel du Lac, Shirley Valentine, Bright Young Things and These Foolish Things.

In 2007 she was reunited with Anton Rodgers (again as a husband and wife team) in the ITV comedy You Can Choose Your Friends. In 2007 she co-starred with Michael Gambon and Judi Dench in the BBC1 costume drama series Cranford, playing Mrs. Forrester, a military widow of slender means, very attached to her cow Bessie.[9]

In 2008 she was announced as the replacement for Geraldine McEwan as ITV's Miss Marple.[10]

McKenzie noted: "It’s difficult because Agatha Christie wrote her in two ways...First, very much what Geraldine McEwan played: a slight, rather Victorian creature. Then, a little sturdier and tweedier. I chose the latter. A lot of people say they don’t like the tweedier version. But they’re both genuine."[1] Also, she said: "Just about everybody in the world knows about Miss Marple and has an opinion of what she should be like, so I’m under no illusions about the size of the task ahead."[10] McKenzie's first series of Marple comprised A Pocket Full of Rye, Murder is Easy, They Do It with Mirrors and Why Didn't They Ask Evans?. The second series of the show, which aired in 2010, included The Pale Horse, The Secret of Chimneys, The Blue Geranium, and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. A sixth series, including adaptations of A Caribbean Mystery, Greenshaw's Folly and Endless Night, began filming in September 2012 and was broadcast in 2013.

During the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony she played Her Majesty the Queen on board the helicopter in the short film Happy and Glorious.[11] That year she also played the role of Betty Nicholas in the ITV television series The Town.[12]

On 26 December 2013, McKenzie appeared as the title character in the film adaption of David Walliams' book Gangsta Granny.

In 2015 McKenzie appeared as Shirley Mollison in the BBC mini series The Casual Vacancy

Other work[edit]

She is a radio performer with a long list of credits, including Blithe Spirit, The Country Wife and A Room with a View. As a director she has staged Stepping Out, Peter Pan, Hey, Mr. Producer!, Steel Magnolias, Putting It Together and A Little Night Music.

She also recorded an audio book of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.[13]

Personal life[edit]

McKenzie has been married since 1971 to American actor-director, Jerry Harte.[1]






See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Patay, Ajesh (25 August 2009). "Julia McKenzie on Being the New Miss Marple: interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Julia McKenzie Biography (1941–)". Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Olivier Winners 1982" olivierawards.com, accessed 18 August 2011
  4. ^ "Olivier Winners 1994" olivierawards.com, accessed 18 August 2011
  5. ^ Hutchins, Michael H. (compiler)."'Follies', 1987 London Production" Sondheimguide.com, accessed 18 August 2011
  6. ^ Hutchins, Michael H. (compiler). 'Into the Woods', 1990 London Production Sondheimguide.com, accessed 18 August 2011
  7. ^ Hutchins, Michael H. (compiler)."'Side By Side By Sondheim" Listings" Sondheimguide.com, accessed 18 August 2011
  8. ^ Cast list from Happy Birthday, Sir Larry theatre programme, 31 May 1987
  9. ^ "'Cranford' Characters, Mrs. Forrester" PBS.com, accessed 18 August 2011
  10. ^ a b Hemley, Matthew."McKenzie to take on Miss Marple role for ITV" The Stage, 11 February 2008
  11. ^ Hand, Lise (29 July 2012). "'Secret agent' in the coup that made the Queen a global TV comedy star.". The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Wilson, Frances The Town, ITV1, review at The Telegraph, 5 December 2012. Retrieved 16 August 20134
  13. ^ SilkSoundBooks "About Julia McKenzie" silksoundbooks.com, accessed 18 August 2011.
  14. ^ Cole 1974 production at sondheimguide.com
  15. ^ Dalglish, Darren Kafka's Dick, Piccadilly Theatre (Review) at London Theatre Archive, 26 January 1999

External links[edit]